Urgent solutions needed to make schools safer

Going to secondary school – for both students and staff – is becoming increasingly dangerous in too many communities, and urgent solutions are needed, says Melanie Webber, President of PPTA Te Wehengarua.

“Recent incidents show that levels of violence in our school communities are escalating.  Schools are meant to be places where students feel safe in an environment that enables them to bring their best selves to the fore.  I’m horrified and saddened that this does not seem to be the case for increasing numbers of students and staff.

“One student bringing a knife or any kind of weapon to school is one too many. The fact that students feel they need to protect themselves in such a way is seriously concerning, and the harm they are willing to inflict on others along with the impact on the school community, is even more so.

“Sadly, incidents such as this are not isolated and in fact show how widespread violence is becoming in our school communities. It can instil huge fear in students, makes teachers’ work even more stressful and it needs to be addressed urgently.

“Schools need a lot more pastoral support at the grassroots level – more experienced and skilled school counsellors working with both students and their families. Schools are in many ways the heart of their communities and reflect what is going on within communities, particularly the uncertainty, economic stress, and anxiety.

“This means that schools are having to deal with increasingly complex and serious social issues. Schools desperately need the support and resources that will enable them to become models of the environment our rangatahi deserve, rather than mirrors of some of the worst elements of our society.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 18 May 2022 14:52